|Bradley Klahn, left, chats with Ireland's James McGee during|
the 2015 Sacramento Challenger. Klahn, a former Stanford star,
practiced lightly during the tournament while recovering from
his second back operation. Photo by Paul Bauman
Bradley Klahn hardly looks like someone playing his first tournament in almost two years.
The 26-year-old qualifier, a former Stanford star, defeated Tennys Sandgren of Gallatin, Tenn., 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 today to reach the quarterfinals of the $50,000 Champaign (Ill.) Challenger.
Klahn, the 2010 NCAA singles champion, missed 21 months after undergoing his second operation for a herniated disc in his back in February 2015. He improved to 5-1 against Sandgren, a 25-year-old former Tennessee All-American.
Klahn, from the San Diego suburb of Poway, will face top-seeded Jared Donaldson, a Providence, R.I., native now living in Irvine in the Los Angeles area, on Thursday. It will be Klahn's sixth match in six days in the indoor tournament, which features a Saturday final.
Donaldson, 20, beat qualifier Ryan Shane, who captured the 2015 NCAA singles title as a Virginia junior, 6-2, 6-4.
Donaldson won his only career match against Klahn, 7-5, 7-6 (4) in the semifinals of the $50,000 Maui Challenger in January 2015, and went on to capture the title.
As a qualifier in this year's U.S. Open, Donaldson shocked 14th-seeded David Goffin of Belgium en route to the third round. Klahn has reached the second round of the U.S. Open twice, knocking off former top-10 player Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-4 in the fifth set as a qualifier in 2012.
The 6-foot-2 (1.88-meter) Donaldson is ranked No. 109, down from a career-high No. 96 in September. Klahn, a 6-foot (1.83-meter) left-hander, has dropped out of the rankings after climbing as high as No. 63 in March 2014.